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This film is interesting because it starts out as atheistic and orderly, and shifts its tone; that maybe God exists and He could be explained through science; until its stunning conclusion that perhaps God exists, and He is unexplainable. God cannot be put in a box.
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Pi
--Faith in chaos.
(1998)

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Review by
Nicholas Kleszczewski

Graphic review by David Bruce

Maximillian Cohen: Sean Gullette,
Sol Robeson: Mark Margolis,
Lenny Meyer: Ben Shenkman,
Marcy Dawson: Pamela Hart,
Rabbi Cohen: Stephen Pearlman.
Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky. Running time: 85 minutes.
Rated R (for language and disturbing images).

Pi photoPi universe
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How can I describe the visceral experience that is "Pi"? It is a film I thoroughly enjoyed, but I realize that it contains too many elements that may be cumbersome for those used to, say, more traditional fare. Yet I could hardly think of any other film in recent memory that expands and challenges the intellect on serious theological issues.

The Greek letter "Pi" equals the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. But even for the mathematically deficient, Pi is less about mathematics than it is a study in obsession, a visual representation of madness. Stylistically, it is "Eraserhead" meeting "Taxi Driver" with some "Wall Street" and "Yentl" thrown in. Spiritually, it affirms the truth that God is greater than we are.

Its protagonist, Maximillian Cohen, believes that mathematics is the true language of nature, and that every action in the world, no matter how random, is intricately ordered and patterned. Given this thesis, why not use this knowledge to try to predict the stock market? This draws the attention of some shady investment banker types.

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But the film goes beyond that initial premise, and takes it to an unexpected plane: faith. Although Max is an agnostic Jew, his faith more accurately reflects that of an "atheistic Calvinist" . Even so, he draws the attention of Lenny Meyer, a Jew from the Kaballah sect, who explains that the Hebraic language is numeric and replete with symbolism, perhaps with the key to the meaning of life.

One of the most engaging exchanges is when Lenny tells Max that the numeric symbol for man is "3", and the numeric symbol for woman is "41". The symbol for child, interestingly, is their sum: "44". He then goes to explain the symbol for Eden, and the tree of life, which coincidentally, are the same two numbers for an important mathematical ratio, that "swirls" into eternity. Many Christians familiar with Hebraic numerology will find the exchange refreshing.

There's more. Max's computer, which occupies most of his apartment, crashes, leaving behind a printout of random numbers. He throws them away. Are these numbers the secret 216-digit number that the Kaballah sect is looking for? The meaning of this number is very clearly explained, with the history of the Jewish temple and the priest's annual visit to the holy of holies on Yom Kippur. The number may be translated into the Hebraic equivalent of what the priest said: the name of God.

This film is interesting because it starts out as atheistic and orderly, and shifts its tone; that maybe God exists and He could be explained through science; until its stunning conclusion that perhaps God exists, and He is unexplainable. God cannot be put in a box.

The story appears to be dry. It's anything but. First timer Darren Aranofsky gets a lot of mileage out of his limitations (the budget was only $60,000). It is filmed in a strong black and white that grabs you.

The cinematography is stunning, the editing is superior, and there are fantastic close up images that we take for granted: an ant on a microchip, a dismembered brain, a trembling thumb. He deservedly won the director's prize at Sundance in 1988.

The picture is one of the most mesmerizing claustrophobic creations ever put to celluloid. But it is not for the squeamish. A subplot has Max suffering from chronic headaches. And hallucinations. And drugs. And nosebleeds. And all of this is shown in vivid, surrealistic detail. And he may be going a little mad.

I have two problems with the film. There is this glaring gaffe where Max walks down a subway platform, where he is initially at the 50th Street station, and winds up at the exit for Prospect Park (only New Yorkers will catch that). And, the very final moments are a cop-out.

But these issues are minor in comparison to the importance of this movie. Rarely has a film been so engrossed in its own world, that you feel immersed in an entirely new reality. There are a lot of interesting ideas in Pi, coupled with some of the most breathtaking imagery and editing I've seen in a long time. Search it out, and enjoy.

VISITOR RESPONSE

ABOUT NUMBERS AND MEANING
Subject: PI
Date: Sun, 05 Aug 2001
From: Gökhan

Hello to all out there! Nature is, numbers are not. Numbers are !inventions! by the product of the nature (us). Why should there exist a code for higher spiritual existings in such a primitive way like a ending number sequence? All superb ratio's and hidden meanings are the interpretation of us. We !!want!! to find something like a meaning, thats why we seek and find answers which we created on our own. They are not existing and are not an !!intrinsic!! element of nature. You can select randomly a number and a set of arithmetic operations to gain some "interesting" ratio's. So numbers are out to express our model of things... We make them. They are not existing without our interpretation. So numbers can't be the language of nature. bye

A FEELING
Subject: Pi
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001
From: Valarie SageWind cheshyremoon@hotmail.com

Seeing this movie gave me a feeling that's recurred at many moments in my life in relation to the universe, God, people connectedness....it's kind of like it's hard to breathe, but you feel like it all fits. When I was doing math in high school I felt it. When I first started to learn of the existence of the Bible Code I felt it. And now, during the entire movie of Pi, I felt it again. Has anyone else felt this feeling, or something like it? I feel as though it doesn't have to be found in numbers, but can be felt spiritually/emotionally. Please write with your own thoughts:
cheshyremoon@hotmail.com
Valarie SageWind

MORE TRUTH THAN FICTION
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001
From: "Charles William Johnson"

Congratulations on stirring the mind. I should like to invite you to visit: Ancient Pi: Knowers of the Universe http://www.earthmatrix.com/ancient/pi.htm Earth/matriX: Science in Ancient Artwork The theme of the movie Pi is more reality than fiction, as Joe Mason states so well in his comments.
Best wishes,
Charles William Johnson johnson@earthmatrix.com
Earth/matriX Science Today www.the-periodic-table.com
Science in Ancient Artwork www.earthmatrix.com
P.O. Box 231126 New Orleans,
LA 70183-1126 (504) 733-9291 Tel/Fax

LIKE SOMETHING ELSE?
Subject: pi review
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000
From: Tim R"

is it just not possible to review one film without immediately trying to compare it to others? i get so tired of reading movie reviews by critics who claim that the movie in question is like "this move" meets "that movie" with a little bit of "some other movie". how boring, unoriginal, and condescending can one get?

KABBALLAH AND 216 IN PI
Subject: some more information on the kabballah and 216
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000
From: "Colin"

Hi. My name is Colin and I thoroughly enjoyed the mindbending and spellbinding influence that Pi had on me. After contemplating the thoughts, I decided to delve deeper into the number 216, and into the Kabbalah itself, to better get a grasp on what the Kabbalists were after, and maybe somethings they diddn't know. I am stunned about some striking coincidences(?) Viewing some of the original images of the Sephirotic System, otherwise known as The Tree Of Life, I found many geometrical and analytical similarities between the schematics or structures, and in the numbers mentioned earlier. The ten Sephiroth begin as the 'roots' of the tree.

According to many Kabbalists, They are the key to human existance. Each sephiroth represents a different power or attainable state of being of man. The man who attains perfection with all ten is prophesized to be the messia, who "climbs" the tree of life to reach the pinnacle, known as either EIN SOF, EHIEH PATER, or INFINITE SOURCE. This termination of the tree in many drawings, emits "rays" or "branches," running away from the final level like polarized light. There are six main branches that depart form the source. Each branch splits into six more as they reach the second level, Beria. At the third level, Yetzira, they branch off again, into six more rays for each one. Wondering where the relation is? Well it appears that God, Jehova, or Y--eh (sorry, I am not of purity to say it) shows his power parting off into many seperate beams. and each beam terminates when it reaches the conscious level of the sephiroth, Assiya. And guess how many parts of God are touching our world. 216. 6X6X6=216

Some more prospecting on that... the original Star of David isn't quite what is on the israli flag. It has so much more meaning to it. I don't have the space to delve into it here, but let me just tell you that many old writings show it as three "Star of Davids," the smallest one inscribed inside the medium, inscribed in the large one. 6X6X6=216 aaaaaaaaaaaa. Well, it would have been interisting if Max had stated the name of god. If he had completed the Sephiroth (which is disputable and arguable), he would have perhaps become the messiah, and destroyed the world, leaving only heaven to reign. Or maybe that did happen???
Thanks for hearing me.

OBSESSIONS AND PATTERNS
Subject: Art imitates life.
Date: Wed, 3 May 2000
From:

The premise of the movie is patterns and obsession. Obsessions filter out the patterns and one who is obsessed will only see what he wants. However, one with knowledge will see the same thing. Regards, Pauli

NUMBER CODES IN PI -AMAZING!
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000
From: Joe Mason

Hello.

I learned of the movie "Pi" from my "Code" friends. After watching the video, I searched the web and found several sites. I like your site best. I have been sending other people to your site since then. The following is one example of my e-mail exchanges:
--------
In a message dated 2/19/2000 7:42:27 PM Pacific Standard Time, paintone writes:

<< Subj: The Code of the Ancients

Joe, I noticed in your page you talk about the relationship scale of the dimensions of the Great Pyramid compared to the dimensions of earth as 1:43,200. "Equally 'impossible' - at any rate for a people like the ancient Egyptians who are supposed to have known nothing about the true shape and size of our planet - is the relationship, in a scale of 1 : 43,200, that exists between the dimensions of the Pyramid and the dimensions of the earth."

If you do divide this in half (2:43,200) it is 21,600 ! As you say also on this web page "And, 21600 also "happens to be" the number of Nautical Miles on the polar circumference of Earth. "

God is great and the numbers belong to HIM !
Keep up the great work.

Mike >>
--------
Hello Mike.
Yes! That IS a significantly meaningful number "coincidence." Thank you for pointing it out. I forwarded your e-mail to my "Code" partners.

Also interesting is that 21,600 is the Grid latitude of Stonehenge:
51 deg x 10 min x 42.35294118 sec North = 21600 North

This is derived from the total of 60 original stones arranged in a 360-degree circle (60 x 360).

The number 216 (6 to the third power) and its harmonics have many "connections," including the diameter of the moon, the years in a Zodiac Age, and the Names of God. I plan to write an article about 216, that will include a series of strange "coincidences." The movie, "Pi" seemed to tune in to the idea:

http://hollywoodjesus.com/pi.htm">
Pi. A Hollywood Jesus Movie Review

Please keep in touch.

Regards,

Joe Mason
----------
You and your readers may be interested in our work:
http://www.greatdreams.com/gem1.htm
CODE OF THE ANCIENTS
http://www.greatdreams.com/gem1.htm

We "number crunchers" see lots of "connections" in the "Pi" movie. Another example is the Hebrew:
Father = 3
Mother = 41
(Total = 44)
Child = 44

The number 72 is also related to the number of Divine Names. 44 x 72 = 3168, which was related to "Lord Jesus Christ" by early Christians. The harmonic, 31,680 (6 miles in feet), was a sublunar distance related to The New Jerusalem. It is derived from a box drawn around the earth, giving 4 x 7920 miles = 31,680 miles. It is also derived from a diagram of the moon touching the earth, with a large circle around the earth that passes through the center of the moon. The circumference of the large circle is 31,680 miles.

The harmonic of 44, 440, is the number of yards in a quarter-mile. It is also the cycles per second of the central "A" note of the piano.

The "Trinity" total, 3 + 41 + 44 = 88, has other interesting "connections." 88 x 360 = 31,680, and 88 x 60 = 5,260 (feet in a mile).

I became interested in ancient numbers back in 1991, when I read an article about John Michell in a crop circle journal, and then read another written by him. I was startled by the first article, when I saw "The New Jerusalem Plan" diagram. I had dreamed of the shape the previous year! And, I have never been a believer in any belief system!

The basic pattern of The New Jerusalem Plan, according to the article, has been found by dowsing in ancient sites such as Stonehenge, Avebury, and Glastonbury, and also within a crop circle formation. John included the diagram in some of his books: "City of Revelation," "The View Over Atlantis," and "The New View Over Atlantis."

John wrote an article about the triangular Barbury Castle crop formation of 1991:
http://www.spiritweb.org/Spirit/Images/CropCircle/crop-circle-06.jpg">
Barbury Castle Pictogram
http://www.spiritweb.org/Spirit/Images/CropCircle/crop-circle-06.jpg

The total square footage of the circles was 31,680. Some say the formation is related to the Trinity. Well, I am more of a "believer" now!

If you wish, you can post my e-mail address and the link to our Code of The Ancients portion of our site on your site. The concepts in "Pi," the movie, do have a "reality." It seems important to share the ideas with others, even if we disagree on the ultimate interpretations.
Thanks for your part of that effort.

Regards and best wishes,
Joe Mason

OTHER CHRISTIAN SITES ARE MORALISTIC
September 11, 1999. I am so glad to have found your excellent movie site. That review of "Pi" was really something. I agree with you that too many (all?) of the other "Christian" movie review sites are moralistic rather that Christ-centered.
I haven't' looked through your entire site yet (just found it 10 minutes ago), so I don't know if you reviewed "The Winslow Boy" or not. Check it out if you haven't seen it yet. I am a big David Mamet fan. Have you read his little book "On Directing Film" . It's essential reading for anyone interested in how and why good filmmaking works.
-David Nethery

IT RESONNATES WITH THINGS I HAVE THOUGHT
July 9, 1999. I have read this review and not seen the movie. It resonnates with things I have "found and thought" permanent to the "events" life shows _[especially from child). I will send this review (a copy it) to a celebrity who knows Jap. Buddh. and ISKON. He will like and be interested in it. I am. I think it (review) is good. M. O., Dayton, OH

INTERESTING FILM
Jan 27 1999, An interesting film, epsecially from the scriptual point of view. While the Bible does not contain hidden messages, (John 3:17) the idea that all of nature can be described by numbers is interesting. Since God created the universe, He also, through the first of His creation, Jesus Christ, created the underlying system we percieve as math. The sad part is that those looking for the true name of God should have stopped counted letters and read the Bible, it's Yahweh or Jehovah. --Emmet
My response:
Yahweh is the nearest we can come to the actual name of God. But, since ancient Hebrew had no vowels scholars added vowels to YHWH to get YaHWeH, in other words the exact pronunciation of the divine Hebrew name is lost. Also, there are hidden acrostics in the Bible (e.g. Ps. 119, Pr. 31) and in the book of Esther, there is hidden in the text the name of God several times. The 2 chapter of Genesis is full of hidden word plays (e.g. 'man' comes from the same word as 'soil'). The gospel of Luke is filled with hidden humor for those keen of eye. The Bible is very intriguing.

LIVED MY OWN VERSION OF PI
June 26, 1999. I was living my own version of pi as this movie was bieng written I was taking a math class and discovered some really interesting things about pi and the bible.

FROM CHAOS TO MYSTICISM
Saw this film and thoroughly enjoyed it. It tied in all sorts of issues, ranging from chaos and number theory to mysticism in a way that actually seemed plausible. I highly recommend it. One of the most interesting and novel films I've ever seen.

I WILL SEE IT
Haven't seen the movie, but with your review, I will! It is very interesting to find someone in "Hollywood" that really can say the name "God/Jesus" without using it as a swear word.

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